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Countdown To Relay
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Oakdale’s annual Relay For Life is just around the corner – the 24-hour signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society will be hosted at Oakdale High School on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26.

A mandatory final Youth Meeting for youth teams and chaperones is scheduled for tomorrow night, Thursday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Oak Valley Hospital conference rooms, and T-shirt distribution for this year’s event is planned next week, April 23 at the OVH conference rooms.

As teams prepare for the 24-hour event, fundraising continues ahead of the Relay For Life and so far, more than $64,600 has been raised for the local 2015 Relay. Oakdale currently has 37 teams and more than 435 participants registered.

Opening ceremonies are set for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 25 at the high school soccer fields and keynote speaker for the opening will be Cheryl Casey, Community Outreach Coordinator for Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center’s Cancer Services.

“I joined Memorial Medical Center’s Cancer Program in 1996 following the death of my father to lung cancer. That was the same year I was invited to the Modesto Relay for Life. The following year I became a team captain and in 1998 joined the Relay for Life committee as well,” Casey said of her growing involvement in the cause. “While volunteering for this event I found my passion, which is to work with cancer survivors and their families to provide support and encouragement to them on a regular basis. In my mind, Relay For Life shouldn’t happen just once a year … what happens at Relay needs to happen every day.”

Relay For Life brings the community together for a 24-hour period of fundraising, celebrating cancer survivors, remembering those who have lost the fight and making a difference in terms of helping finance research, education and treatment.

“In my current position as Community Outreach Coordinator I have the opportunity to help create programs that serve our entire cancer community,” added Casey. “I have served on the local ACS Leadership Council for over 15 years and have volunteered in many different capacities.”

Relay teams host a variety of activities at their individual campsites during the event, from selling food to hosting games, having opportunity drawings and more, to raise funds for ACS and there is entertainment throughout the 24-hour period along with special activities, food and fun.

Cancer survivors and their caregivers are honored guests and the Relay For Life committee has been working to create a memorable event for all involved.

The entire community is invited to come take part in Relay For Life – daytime and evening festivities are open to all, you do not have to be on a team to attend and support the cause.

Local businesses, school groups, community service organizations, families – all combine to form teams to join in the fight against cancer. An evening Luminaria ceremony on Saturday night gives everyone the chance to honor and remember cancer survivors and victims and the lighted luminaria bags light the walking path through the overnight hours.


Next week: A special feature on 30-year cancer survivor Kevin Brunk of Oakdale and his “30 for 30” team, with the goal of raising $30,000 for the fight against cancer.